We've noticed recently that a lot
of bars are spilling out on to the street in Tokyo. From Ginza
to Shibuya, drinkers have been crawling out of darkened watering
holes and blinking bug-eyed at the night lights and neon as
they sit perched at pavement counters and tables. Like startled
rats, we too found ourselves roadside on the spacious terrace
This Asian fusion joint sits on the appropriately nicknamed
"Wired Street" running from Shibuya to Daikanyama
alongside the JR train tracks. Unused to this terrible daylight,
we nervously found our places on the bare wood deck and sank
into the drinks menu. We started off with a round of bottled
Guinness (¥750) with Awamori chasers (¥550-¥650),
and some of us couldn't resist the Cinzano half and
half (¥700), which mixed dry and sweet varieties. Cantik
also does a range of intriguing world fusion dishes, such
as duck from Spain with raw ham (¥850) and squid ravioli
gyoza-style (¥860). Bizarre yet tasty, we found.
Having fired the synapses on shochu, we settled in to some
pointless debate, which rather comically got interrupted by
the Yamanote line train thundering past every three minutes.
This may seem like a disadvantage, but not only does it provide
respite from yet another discussion about which Star Wars
character we would be if we were cast in the film, but it
yields bare moments of insight into the capital's goings-on,
as passengers mill on the platform or shoot by in carriages
oblivious of being watched.
As for our fellow customers, Cantik attracts
a healthy, polite crowd of office ladies, love-love couples
and other assorted twenty-somethings. Things are unlikely
to get chaotic, unless you count holding hands as being too
As the afternoon slipped by alcoholically, we discovered from
the menu that Cantik is pronounced "chantik"
in Indonesian, meaning "beautiful," and that
they want us "to have a chantik time!" So we
did. Cantik is more café than bar, epitomized by the
Café Del Mar CD constantly spinning over the speakers,
and although perhaps not for hardened drinkers, it's
a perfect place for an autumn afternoon retreat from the Shibuya
bustle and the Daikanyama trend brigade.
4-17 Sakuragaoka-cho, Shibuya-ku.
Tel: 03-5728-6228. Open daily 11am-2am. Nearest stn: Shibuya.
Photos by Martin Hladik
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